‘Youth needs to focus on agriculture and tourism sector’

Unemployment and lack of job opportunities continue to be a huge problem in the country, where Stats SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the first quarter of 2023 stated that a total of 4.9 million young people were unemployed during the period under review, resulting in an increase of 1.1% to 46.5% compared with the previous quarter.

However, according to Vumelana Advisory Fund, it is not doom and gloom for youngsters who are despondent based on the economic challenges they are faced with.

Vumelana said youngsters needed to put their focus in the agriculture and tourism sector, which are two industries that can significantly contribute to mitigating and curbing escalating youth unemployment, especially in rural areas.

While the country is still celebrating youth month, youngsters are still hoping to get jobs. However, they should look at other alternatives to empower themselves rather than waiting for someone to employ them.

The Barokologadi Communal Property Association in the North West province serves as a compelling case study, demonstrating how land reform can generate crucial employment opportunities and empower young people with valuable skills to ensure that they participate in the economy.

With the support of Vumelana, the Barokologadi Communal Property Association (CPA) has successfully created approximately 200 temporary employment opportunities in the Melorane ERP Game Reserve. Notably, 70% of the beneficiaries are young people. There are 29 full-time employees within both tourism and agriculture projects.

Through its innovative Community Private Partnership (CPP) model, Vumelana successfully facilitated the partnership between the claimant communities from Barokologadi CPA and its private sector investors Elephants, Rhinos & People (ERP).

CPP contracts are structured to ensure that the partners are able to meet their obligations and exercise their rights in a manner that supports the profitable operation of the business venture they enter into as it relates to the land.

Vumelana’s role is to ensure that these partnerships are fair, profitable and, most importantly, of mutual benefit to both Barokologadi CPA and the investor.

In a CPP contract, the communities typically bring their land and labour, and the private partner brings capital and skills to the partnership. Private partners can also be influential in creating access to markets.

Barokologadi general manager Amos Setou said: “The primary objective of the CPA is to manage the restored land and, amongst others, foster the creation of employment opportunities within the community to improve the livelihoods of beneficiaries.”

Setou emphasised that poverty alleviation is a crucial aspect of the Barokologadi vision, along with a strong commitment to income generation and economic upliftment for their people.

Setou said: “The land reform programme requires young people to take advantage of the opportunities that come with land ownership. We need to promote and highlight the importance of land ownership to young people and emphasise how land reform can be used as a catalyst that can drive socio-economic development.”

The Barokologadi CPA is in the process of expanding its agriculture and ecotourism projects, currently sourcing investors and operators who will collaborate with them in implementing projects. These will further its strategic imperatives to create job opportunities and enable expanded participation in the economy.

Partnership between ERP and the Barokologadi CPA have taken the initiative to implement an entrepreneurship development programme specifically for its youth members, where Barokologadi CPA has supported 13 young people in establishing a cooperative for a beekeeping project.

Since its inception in 2021, these 13 young people have successfully managed and operated the beekeeping project.

Barokologadi CPA has also established a study programme aimed at enhancing academic achievements in mathematics and science for high school students in the community, where they provide tools to enable better engagement within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, while the organisation alongside ERP had also donated 300 bicycles to students in the community, enabling them to commute to school conveniently and with ease.

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